A 'system of light before being a figure of stone': the phantasmagoric prison
Fiddler, Michael (2011) A 'system of light before being a figure of stone': the phantasmagoric prison. Crime Media Culture, 7 (1). pp. 83-97. ISSN 1741-6590 (Print), 1741-6604 (Online)Full text not available from this repository.
This article explores the uncanny interplay between folk and official readings of Victorian prison architecture. From building designs to cinematic depictions, the visual underpins any understanding of the prison. Using Bakhtin’s notion of heteroglossia, it will be shown how the visual elements of prison buildings, both physical and cinematic, obscure a ‘programmatic organisation of space’. As such, the prison is akin to a ‘phantasmagoria’. Both have visual elements that embrace and encourage an imaginative response, but that also mask a rational core. The term ‘Gothic(k)’ is developed here to describe those elements of the prison that constitute its ‘place-myth’. The prison no longer requires a physical apparatus to project its message or consolidate this place-myth. By drawing upon the Gothic(k) readings of the prison and the analogy of the phantasmagoria, we see how the prison has been fully rendered as a ‘system of light’.
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||Bakhtin, phantasmagoria, prison architecture, prison film, uncanny|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)|
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
|School / Department / Research Groups:||School of Humanities & Social Sciences|
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Law & Criminology
|Last Modified:||09 May 2012 11:39|
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